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Biotin, or vitamin B7, helps our bodies turn carbohydrates, proteins and fats into energy. Biotin also improves the health, strength and condition of our skin, nails, hair, eyes, nervous system and liver. Eggs, bananas, legumes and salmon are rich in this important vitamin.
Biotin: An Essential Vitamin
Biotin, vitamin B7, vitamin H. Call it what you will. There’s no doubt that this vitamin is a crucial one for many of our body’s systems – and many aspects of our health.
Yet, people and brands make claims about this essential vitamin that aren’t always true. Here, we want to cut through the noise and give you the facts. Here’s what the science says about the benefits of biotin.
What is Biotin Exactly?
Biotin is an essential water-soluble vitamin. That means it can’t be synthesised or produced by the body – and so you need to take it in through your diet.
Biotin, or vitamin B7 (or vitamin H), has one primary role, and that’s to help our bodies turn the things we eat into the energy we need to survive. Enzymes known as carboxylases do the hard work of metabolising fatty acids, glucose, amino acids, and carbohydrates that we get from our diet. Yet, these things can’t do what they do best without biotin. That means if we don’t get enough biotin in our diet, we’re in a bit of trouble.
We also know that biotin plays a vital part in the nervous system. When biotin metabolism is affected, studies have shown that the result can be symptoms of mobility and sensory problems.
Similarly, biotin deficiencies have been associated with hair loss, poor skin and nail health, and conjunctivitis. That’s just another reason why getting enough biotin in your diet is crucial.
5 Biotin Benefits
Now we understand a little about biotin’s role, let’s run through five of the vitamin’s concrete benefits.
1. Biotin Supports Hair Growth
Firstly, biotin can help you achieve and maintain healthy hair. How?
Biotin is fundamental to the process that produces keratin, the protein that is your hair (and your nails and skin, too). Studies have shown that biotin helps form and strengthen this protein. And as a result, there’s a direct link between biotin and the integrity of your hair.
You have the power to intervene in this process. Studies have shown that patients using biotin supplements report “improvements in overall hair volume, scalp coverage, and thickness of hair” and a “significant increase in the number of hairs”.
2. Biotin May Help Skin and Nail Health
Some of the most common symptoms of biotin deficiency are brittle nails and red skin rashes. This has led many people to look at the benefits biotin may offer your skin and nails.
- An old study from the eighties found that children with rashes, dermatitis, and psoriasis experienced improved symptoms when taking 100 micrograms (mcg) of biotin daily.
- Similarly, an infant with low biotin improved their dermatitis symptoms – and hair growth – after taking biotin dietary supplements.
Importantly, there’s no evidence that biotin helps skincare or nail growth if you don’t already have low biotin levels.
3. It Can Tackle Diabetes Complications
Something that seems more promising is biotin’s role in easing some of the health problems associated with diabetes.
One study found that biotin supplementation improved blood sugar control in diabetic patients. It also showed that total cholesterol and triglyceride levels were reduced thanks to biotin intake. Another study showed that those with type-2 diabetes could improve their blood sugar levels by taking biotin.
Find out more: What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
4. It Could Aid Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
We have seen that biotin is an important vitamin for the nervous system and eyes. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that damages precisely these parts of your body – and studies have shown that biotin may help prevent that damage.
Studies have suggested that supplementation with 300 mg a day can help improve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and prevent long term disability.
5. Biotin Supports Baby Development
Finally, biotin can help ensure the healthy development of babies in the womb. While this might not benefit you as a man, it can be important to know.
Biotin is a vitamin that’s often strikingly low in pregnant women. However, biotin deficiencies have been shown to increase the likelihood of congenital disabilities and foetal malformations. As a result, healthcare providers suggest that pregnant and breastfeeding women eat biotin-rich foods to ensure they get all they and their baby needs.
Sources of Biotin
So, where do you get biotin? Some of the best biotin-rich food sources include:
- Organ meats, like liver and kidney
- Egg yolks
- Fish, including salmon
- Legumes including soybeans and lentils
- Nuts, such as peanuts
- Leafy greens
The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) state that you should be eating 30 mcg of biotin a day. One egg contains about 10 mcg of biotin, while beef liver contains your daily recommended intake.
Just make sure you don’t dramatically exceed the recommended amount of biotin. Just as deficiency can be harmful, too much can have side effects. This is known as biotin toxicity, and it can be pretty nasty.
By the way: Manual’s B-Complex Vitamins offer all the biotin you need – alongside all the goodness of the other B vitamins.
Biotin benefits come from its essential role in your metabolism, nervous system, hair, skin, and nails. The vitamin can play a crucial part in managing the symptoms of diabetes, too.
Get all the biotin you need from your diet. Or check out Manual’s biotin supplements to ensure you remain at the peak of your health.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is an essential vitamin, known also as vitamin B7 or vitamin H. It is not produced by the body, and so we must get the Biotin we need from our diets, instead.
What are the signs that I’m not getting enough Biotin in my diet?
Signs that you are suffering from Biotin deficiency include: hair loss, poor skin and nail health, and conjunctivitis.
Why is Biotin important?
Biotin helps your body turn the food you eat into the energy you need to survive. Specifically, it is crucial to nail, hair and skin health, baby development, and can even help fight diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
What foods are rich in Biotin?
You can take vitamin B or Biotin supplements if you like, but there are plenty of foods naturally rich in the vitamin. These foods include: liver, kidney, egg yolks, salmon, legumes, nuts, cheese, mushrooms and leafy greens.